Federal Direct Loans


Who Is Eligible?

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans awarded to all students who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. In addition, the student must be enrolled at least half-time and not in default or overpayment on other federal financial aid.

Amount of Eligibility

The amount you are eligible to receive is based on your class level. The total net amount paid from Federal Direct Loans is 1% less than the gross amount due to the U.S. Department of Education loan fee. Dependent students can borrow the following amounts for the academic year:

Class Units Eligibility
Freshman 0-29 Units $3,500 + $2,000 in Direct Unsubsidized loans
Sophomore 30-59 Units $4,500 + $2,000 in Direct Unsubsidized loans
Junior & Senior 60 Units or More $5,500 + $2,000 in Direct Unsubsidized loans. Actual amounts awarded may vary depending on other aid awarded to the student.

Interest Rate

Loan Type Borrower Type Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/21 and before 7/1/22
Direct Subsidized Undergraduate 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Undergraduate 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Graduate or Professional 5.28%
Direct PLUS Parents and Graduate or Professional 6.28%

This interest rate is applicable while you are in school, during the grace period, during repayment and if you are in deferment or forbearance. The interest for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans is paid by the federal government while you are in school. During your grace period if your loan was disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2022. The grace period is 6 months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half-time.

If you are awarded the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, interest accrues while in school and you are responsible for paying the interest while you are in school. You may elect to defer the interest payments; however, Whittier College encourages students to make monthly payments to avoid capitalization. Capitalization is the adding of accrued interest to the principal balance at repayment.

Loan Fees

There is a loan fee on all Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed.

First Disbursement Date Loan Fee

On or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2022


Loans first disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2020 have different loan fees.


Your Federal Direct Loan funds will be sent in via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) and will be applied directly to your Whittier College student account. The first disbursement will arrive in the fall semester and the second disbursement in the spring. Entrance Counseling, a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN), acceptance of the Financial Aid Conditions and Authorization as found in the Financial Aid section of your My.Whittier and a completed Cash Management form are required before funds are allowed to disburse. Provided that the all financial aid requirements are complete, your Federal Direct Loan funds will be applied to your Whittier College student account within a week of the first day of a semester.


After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period before you are required to begin repayment. During this period, you'll receive repayment information from your loan servicer, and you'll be notified of your first payment due date. Payments are usually due monthly. 

If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your loan servicer can help you understand your options for keeping your loan in good standing. For example, you may wish to change your repayment plan to lower your monthly payment or request a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily stop or lower the payments on your loan. Learn more about deferment or forbearance options.

How To Apply for the Federal Direct Loan

  1. Students must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year to be considered for this loan.
  2. Accept your Federal Direct Loan on your Whittier College financial aid award letter or accept the award on My.Whittier under 'For Students.'
  3. Complete Entrance Counseling online. This information explains your rights and responsibilities as a Federal Loan borrower and is a federal requirement. New students and students who have not borrowed through a Federal Loan program are required to complete the Entrance Counseling online. Simply click on "Complete Entrance Counseling" once you complete the "Sign In" process. To sign in, you will need your FSA ID (used to sign the FAFSA) and your FSA ID password.
  4. Complete the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online.
  5. Sign and submit a completed Whittier College Cash Management Form.